Crossroads Fitness Blog

Maximize Your Metabolism

November 22, 2011
Why is it that some people seem to stay thin no matter what they eat?  They are the ones you see eating a huge hamburger and fries, as you sit across the restaurant putting your chicken breast and veggies in your phone calorie counter and wondering why you can’t lose those extra ten pounds.  Your metabolism may be the reason.

Metabolism, put in simple terms, is how your body converts the food you eat into fuel and how efficiently your body uses that fuel.   The rate that your body burns that fuel (or calories) is directly related to losing or gaining weight.   Ah-ha, so we can blame our metabolism for those extra ten pounds!

It is true that there are certain factors that control your metabolism that you can’t change.   One of them is your age.  Your metabolism rate naturally begins to slow down after age 40; a little reminder from your body that you are no longer a youngster and need to start caring for your body in a few different ways.  Another factor is your gender.  Men generally burn more calories at rest than women. Being a woman, this seems slightly unfair. There are other factors including heredity or medical problems that can influence the rate that your body burns calories.  Although we may be unable to change some things, the good news is that there are things we can do improve our metabolism rate.

Among the best ways to boost your metabolism is exercise!  Quick read more or view full article It is important to combine both cardiovascular exercise and strength training to your regimen.  Cardiovascular exercise, such as running or biking, can burn many calories.  While strength training may not burn as many calories during your workout as cardiovascular exercise, your body continues to burn calories long after your work-out is over.  This is important to know because muscle burns more calories than fat – a lot more!  According to Crossroads Fitness Personal Trainer, Jess Cassinari, “Every pound of muscle in our bodies can burn over 30 calories a day, while each pound of fat burns only 2-3 calories a day.” If you include strength training into your workouts regularly, your muscles will work hard for you all day long.

Nutrition is another way to improve your metabolism.  You will be happy to know that “crash” dieting is NOT the answer.  Actually, when you deprive your body of food, your metabolism slows down causing the reverse effect.  When you do eat, your body will hang on to those calories, as your body is functioning as if it’s starving.  Most of us have attempted a diet that was unsuccessful. Chances are it didn’t work because our bodies were not supplied with enough nutrients to function normally. Then when we did eat (or cheat, as we probably referred to it as) we probably overindulged. Don’t cut yourself short on the fuel that keeps you moving.  Your best bet is to eat more often.  Eating small, nutritious meals more frequently will help keep your metabolism awake.  

Here are some additional nutrition tips that can help increase the rate of your body’s metabolism.  Add a little more protein to your diet.  Your body uses more calories to digest protein than it does digesting carbohydrates.   Some sources of protein rich foods include turkey, fish, nuts, beans and eggs.   Another tip is to spice up your dishes with red pepper flakes.  The chemical compound in spicy food can increase your metabolism temporarily.   Don’t forget to include water in your daily routine.  Your body needs to be hydrated to properly use the calories you consume. 

There are many factors that influence the rate in which your body burns calories such as gender, age, and genetics. It is easy to blame those extra pounds on factors you can’t change, however this doesn’t mean you have to settle for a slow metabolism.  Knowing that by changing your eating habits, exercising and building muscles, you can speed up the rate that your body burns calories.  The benefits will show not only on how you feel, but on the scale as well.
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Preparing for fun winter sports

November 4, 2011
The leaves are beginning to change colors and the days are getting shorter. While some people look drudgingly at swirling leaves, others are filled with anticipation as their favorite winter activities draw closer. 

It is very important for winter sports enthusiasts to train and do specific conditioning exercises before hitting the snow because, due to the spring and summer off-season, muscles may need time to adjust. Starting off the season with an injury would definitely put a damper on the fun. It’s important to do sport-specific conditioning to reduce the chance of injury and aid in performance and enjoyment of the sport.

Skiing and Snowboarding  Conditioning for these sports involves a variety of physical skills including strength, flexibility, endurance, agility, and balance. Muscular strength improves your ability to maintain control while making quick adjustments while skiing or boarding in uneven terrain. All the major muscle groups of the body, especially the core, are used for skiing and snowboarding. Some exercises include a single leg squat or weighted quadriceps squat. Pilates or yoga would be a good complement to muscle training to increase core strength, maintain better balance, and improve overall flexibility.

Sledding  Some people underestimate the difficulty level of even the most basic of winter sports. Sledding is often viewed as child’s play, but it is a fun activity for all ages. However, just pulling your sled up that big hill is a fitness feat that often gets overlooked. Cardio endurance and leg strengthening exercises Quick read more or view full article can help prepare for a day of sledding with the family. Playing in the snow can be very beneficial to your health. Your quality time spent in the health club doing your winter sports conditioning will be well worth it when the first snow falls.

Cross-Country Skiing  This is a great cardiovascular workout! Like most cardio-related sports, endurance training is a must. To prepare for this fun winter sport, train with your favorite cardio exercises that are appropriate for your impact level. The elliptical is a great option for low impact and can be adjusted for almost every fitness level.

Ice Skating  Balance is a really important factor in participating in ice skating. Whether it is figure skating or a hockey game you enjoy, without balance, there would be no skating. Depending on your level of expertise, flexibility would also be beneficial. Hockey players need to be flexible and agile, as well as graceful figure skaters. Bosu® balls would be a great training tool to warm up those muscles that have been hiding, while also improving balance.

Winter may be the most awaited season of the year. There are so many activities to partake in, so being physically ready will make for a fun season. Taking time to condition and prepare for the season will help us to not miss out on the fun adventures of the many sports activities that entice us, entertain us, and of course keep us fit.
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